Two journalists from the news magazine Stern, Kai Herrmann and Horst Rieck, met Christiane in 1978 in Berlin when she was a witness in a trial against a man who paid underaged girls with heroin in return for sex. The journalists wanted to disclose the drug problem among teenagers in Berlin, which was severe but also surrounded by strong taboos. They arranged a two-hour interview with Christiane. The two hours ended up being two months, where Christiane provided an in-depth description of a life with drugs and prostitution that she and other teenagers in West Berlin experienced in the 1970s. The journalists subsequently ran a series of articles about her addiction in Stern, based on tape recorded interviews with Christiane.
The interviews were extensive, and the Stern publishing house eventually decided to publish the successful book Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo in 1979. The book chronicles her life from 1975 to 1978, when she was aged 12–15. The narrative of the book is in the first person, from Christiane's viewpoint, but was written by the journalists functioning as ghostwriters. Others, such as Christiane's mother, and various people who witnessed the escalating drug situation in Berlin at the time, also contributed to the book. It depicts several of Christiane's friends along with other drug addicts, as well as scenes from typical locations of the drug scene in Berlin.